Friday, September 21, 2001

An Old-New World Order

An Old-New World Order

September 21, 2001

I remember Sarit Amrani as Sarit Baruch, who lived two floors below us in
Kiryat Arba. The Baruch’s moved to Kiryat Arba about 18 years ago. Uri is a
first-class jeweler, producing beautiful rings and necklaces. Francine has
been working for years at the local Kupat Holim medical clinic, assisting
patients from behind the receptionist’s desk. They lived in our building for
a couple of years before moving up to the Givat Harsina neighborhood of
Kiryat Arba, a couple of miles away. We didn’t remain in close contact, but
met on various occasions over the years. And I remember Sarit, the oldest in
a family of four children, as a pretty, sweet, smiling, good-natured little

A few years ago that little girl, now grown up, married another Kiryat Arba
offspring, Shai Amrani. The young couple decided to live out their ideals,
and moved to Nokdim, a community of over 100 families bordering the Judean
Desert, south of Bethlehem and next to another Jewish community, Tekoah.
According to one of their neighbors, Infrastructure Minister Avigdor
Lieberman, when the couple applied for residency, they did not ask how to
get to Nokdim, which is far off the main road, or whether is was safe to
live at Nokdim. They had only one request: to become residents of this
small, growing community.

Sarit gave birth to three children. Her oldest daughter, Zohar, is four
years old. Ziv is two. Her youngest, Raz, was born only three months ago.
The couple planned to have a large family. Yesterday, their dreams were
abruptly cut short.

The terrorists who succeeded in murdering Sarit left her husband Shai living
by a thread of life. Yesterday he was operated on for 12 hours, in an
attempt to save his life. Hit in the chest and in the neck, he arrived at
Hadassah hospital more dead than alive. Only by the grace of G-d and the
expertise of a team of doctors were the Amrani children not left without any
parents at all. But it will be a while before Shai is up and around, ready
to tend to his children’s needs. Until then, the children’s grandparents
will become surrogate Mommy and Daddy. And unfortunately, my memories of
cute little Sarit Baruch have been replaced by the image of a covered body,
horribly mutilated by terrorists, being eulogized and brought to burial at
the age of 26.

An army spokesman reported this morning that in the past 24 hours there have
been 19 Arafat-initiated terror attacks which have resulted in one dead and
over a dozen wounded. Yesterday in Hebron we were treated to massive
shooting at about 1:30 in the morning, as well as several explosive devices
hurled at security personnel during the day. Jews were shot at in Hebron on
both days of Rosh HaShana, as well as the night before the holiday.

According to Kol Yisrael correspondent Yoni ben Menachem, yesterday the PA
apprehended Sarit Amrani’s suspected killer, but released him following a
“short conversation.” Ma’ariv newspaper reports that at last night’s cabinet
meeting, senior security experts testified that Arafat has not changed his
strategy, and is planning to continue a policy of violence and killing. Army
intelligence chief, General Amos Malka, told the cabinet that Arafat had no
plans of stopping attacks against Israelis. Shas minister ben Izri asked
Malka for the military’s opinion of a planned Arafat-Peres meeting. Sharon
stopped Malka from answering, saying, “this is not the subject of our
discussion.” The result: According to HaAretz newspaper, a Peres-Arafat
meeting is likely on Saturday night. They quote Peres as having told Labor
ministers, "for 50 years the U.S. has been responding to our requests, it's
about time that we respond to one small request of theirs," referring to the
meeting with Arafat.  They report “that Sharon would not scuttle a
Peres-Arafat rendezvous, despite the cease-fire violations, as Israel could
not afford to reject the U.S. administration's request for the meeting to
take place.”

It is time to take an accounting of what is exactly is happening, You will
recall that a decade ago George Bush senior, then President of the United
States, declared a “new world order.” His declaration centered around an
international coalition, including many Arab states, directed against Saddam
Hussein and Iraq. The coalition excluded America’s only real ally in the
Middle East, Israel, for fear that Israeli participation would neutralize
Arab participation. The implications of an Arab boycott of the coalition
were apparent, including major oil repercussions. Despite the massive Scud
attacks against Israeli civilian populations, then Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir was ordered to sit quietly and absorb the bombings, a “necessary
sacrifice” for the good of the world.

Shamir, expecting some reward for his obedience, was well repaid by Bush:
American blackmail geared around stopping all Israeli building in Judea,
Samaria and Gazza, in the form of the infamous “loan guarantees.” The U.S.
pressure led to Shamir’s defeat in the 1992 elections, Rabin’s victory, and
the subsequent Oslo curse.

History has a way of repeating itself.

George Junior is going the way of his old man: An old-new coalition,
including Arab states, again, excluding Israel. The coalition, supposedly
aimed at eradicating world terror, is set to hit not only Usama bin Laden,
but also the old Bush family nemesis, Saddam Hussein.   According to the
Debka web site (, as of yesterday, orders were issued putting
Israel on an emergency war alert.  Hospital, airports, and other
instillations were placed on red alert. The speculated reason behind the
alert is an imminent American attack on Iraq, which may likely lead to
missile attacks on Israel. However, it is very possible that this time
Hussein will not refrain using chemical or biological weapons against the
Jewish state.

What is President Bush demanding of Israel in his war against terror? As did
his father, George W. expects Israel to sit back quietly, and not rock the
boat. But this time we must not only be ready to suffer Hussein’s missiles.
This time we must be ready to endure Arafat’s terrorism. Israeli civilians
must be ready to be killed by Arafat-initiated palestinian authority terror,
and not strike back, so as not to cause a crisis between the United States
and its Arab allies. Again, we are being called upon to be ‘sacrifices for
peace.’ In other words, we acquiesce to Arafat terror, thereby allowing the
US to deal with the “other terrorists” who are attacking and killing

It seems that Sharon, like his predecessor, Yitzhak Shamir, has agreed.

Last night the Israeli cabinet (Sharon, Peres, ben Eliezer) decided to
continue a cease-fire policy. This morning Yesha council spokesman Yehoshua
Mor Yosef put out the following press announcement: “According to orders
issued by the Chief of Staff, the army has drastically reduced its actions
in Yesha. According to the new orders, soldiers may only open fire in
life-threatening situations. All Israeli-initiated gunfire is forbidden, not
as a deterrent, and not to strike at any palestinian targets. Also forbidden
is any entrance into “Area A.””

Over the past year Israel has had to absorb close to 200 deaths at the hands
of Arafat terror. Despite the pain and the frustration, an overwhelming
majority of Israelis, both in Yesha and throughout the rest of the country,
have not taken the law into their own hands. We have said, repeatedly, that
our security is in the hands of the Israel Defense Forces, who receive their
orders from the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister. However, should
Ariel Sharon be ready to sacrifice us as lambs on the way to slaughter, on
the alter of  “world peace,” i.e., saving Americans at the cost of Israeli
lives, an era of anarchy may be just around the corner. We will not allow
anyone, be it the Israeli prime minister, or anyone else, to permit our
blood to be needlessly spilled. Sharon is very very close to crossing a red
line, from which there may well be no return. He is responsible for
defending HIS people, the people of Israel. He is not charged with
submitting to American demands, directly leading to the continued killing of
Israeli citizens at the hands of Arafat terrorists.

George W. Bush is on the verge of declaring an “Old-New World Order,” again,
at the expense of the State of Israel. If he does, he is destined to learn,
the hard way, that acquiescence to ANY kind of terror will only boomerang in
his face and in the face of his nation. Arafat is no less an enemy of
America than is bin Laden, for anyone who is an enemy of Israel is an enemy
of the United States.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Uncle Muhammad (Part Two)

Uncle Muhammad (Part Two)
September 13, 2001

For the past 24 hours I've been debating with myself. Not what to write, 
that is very clear. The question was when to write it. And I've concluded
that the time is now.

I've been listening and watching MSNBC internet audio/video news. All day
the commentators have been quoting major newspaper headlines, which say, "This is war." According to a poll taken following the attacks, 84% of the population agrees to the definition of Tuesday's destruction as "war."

No one can doubt that such massive devastation is war. Yet it must be
understood who is the victim. Yesterday's attacks are an attempt, not only
to influence the United States politically, not only to bring the United
States to its knees, rather, the hostilities were an attempt by Islamic
fundamentalism to traumatize the entire world, creating a vulnerability
leading to an international Islamic revolution.

This is nothing new. Islamic fundamental leaders have been publicly
pointing in this direction for years. On July 18, 1997 I published the
following article called "Uncle Muhammad" (slightly abbreviated here):
"The following are excerpts from the weekly Friday sermon delivered by
Palestinian Authority [PA] appointed "Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine"
Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in
Jerusalem on July 11, 1997.

The sermon was broadcast on the PA's official radio station, Voice of

"Oh Allah, destroy America, for she is ruled by Zionist Jews...

"Allah will paint the White House black! Clinton is fulfilling his
father's will to identify with Israel...

"The Muslims say to Britain, to France and to all the infidel nations that
Jerusalem is Arab. We shall not respect anyone else's wishes regarding
her. The only relevant party is the Islamic nation, which will not allow
infidel nations to interfere...

"The homes the Jews are building will become Arab property, with Allah's

"Allah shall take revenge on behalf of his prophet against the colonialist
settlers who are sons of monkeys and pigs....Forgive us, Muhammad, for the
acts of these sons of monkeys and pigs, who sought to harm your sanctity."

Why we haven't heard any reaction from the American powers-that-be, or by Israeli leaders, including the Prime Minister, the President of the State
and the Chief Rabbi, condemning the Arab Mufti of Jerusalem. Why hasn't
Arafat called up both the American President, as well as American Jewish
leaders and Israeli Rabbi's apologizing for the insults against the United
States, Israel and Jews? Why isn't the world media, including CNN,
screaming about Islamic incitement. Perhaps they don't believe, or accept
the verdict blaming Islamic fundamental terrorists for blowing up the World
Trade Center and planning other acts of violence against Americans in the
United States. Or perhaps they have forgotten. Or just don't want to
remember. It is easier to always blame the Jews, rather than upset the Arabs.

The time has come, once and for all, for all Americans, as well as Israelis,
to realize that the rejection of Jews is not limited to a presence in
Hebron - it includes any Jewish presence everywhere in Israel. And the time
has come for the Western world to realize that fundamental Islam rejects
any and all organized religions which do not accept Muhammad. In other
words, all Jews and Christians fall into the category of infidels. The
`sons of monkeys and pigs' spoken about by the Mufti includes not only
Jewish settlers - it includes all who read, and all those who refuse to
read, these words.

The hypocrisy expressed by America, so blatantly apparent, is eventually
going to boomerang and fly back into the face of the United States.
Fundamental Islam is making unbelievable headway in the religious freedom
of the United States. But Americans should all know that fundamentalists
look to the Jerusalem Mufti as their leader too and the fact is that no
one is refuting his words.

The Mufti of Jerusalem, in 1929, was Amin el-Husseini - Fiesel
el-Husseini's uncle. His incitement led to the massacre of 67 Jews in
Hebron and the expulsion of the survivors from the city. Dozens of Jews
throughout Israel were killed and wounded that same August day, as a result of the Mufti's incitement and his call to murder.

Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, today's Mufti, is widening his borders. He is inciting
against the President of the United States and the American population. He
wants to paint the White House black.

"Oh Allah, destroy America, for she is ruled by Zionist Jews..."

And I say, Oh America - Beware of Uncle Muhammad!

On Tuesday, fundamental Islamic leaders succeeded in ?painting the White
House black.?

Will the lesson be learned? Will the United States and the nations of
the world get the message? Will they understand that anyone who legitimizes terror on someone else's home court will find himself slapped in the face, a million-fold?

For an entire year we have cried out, again and again, that Arafat is
utilizing terror for political gains. The United States response has
consistently been "restraint, restraint, restraint." How many times have
American leaders told our Prime Minister, "You must restrain yourselves for
the sake of peace."

Will the State Department spokesman now explain to the American people
that, "for the sake of peace, to prevent escalation, the United States
cannot and will not strike at the perpetrators of this horrible crime
against humanity?" Is Arab, Arafat-initiated terrorism against Jews a
legitimate form of "freedom-fighting", whereas terrorism against the United
States is an act of war?

America, beware of Uncle Muhammad or he will strike again!

Wednesday, September 5, 2001

An Open Rebuttal and Response to USA Today Article

Mr. Tom Curley, President and Publisher, USA Today
Karen Jurgensen, Editor
Bob Dubill, Executive Editor
Jeff Webber, Senior Vice President and Publisher
Kinsey Wilson, Vice President and Editor in Chief
Chet Czarniak, Managing Editor

Sept. 5, 2001

An Open Rebuttal and Response to USA Today Article
“Israeli extremists take revenge on Palestinians”
By Jack Kelley, USA TODAY
Published Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2001.

Dear Sirs,
Jack Kelley’s article is an example of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic propaganda. The article
is so full of lies, and is so inaccurate, that it is almost not worth relating to. However,
due to the wide circulation of USA Today, I have no choice but to refute the charges,
and correct the inaccuracies.

1. Kelley begins, “After a quick prayer, Avi Shapiro and 12 other Jewish settlers put
on their religious skullcaps,”

This is ridiculous. A religious Jew wears his skullcap all hours of the day, and most
especially during prayer. We do not “put on our skullcaps” before going out.

2. “.…and headed toward Highway 60. There, they pushed boulders, stretched
barbed wire and set tires afire to form a barricade that, they said, would stop even
the biggest of Palestinian taxis. Then they waited for a vehicle to arrive. As they
crouched in a ditch beside the road, Shapiro, the leader of the group, gave the settlers
orders: Surround any taxi, "open fire" and kill as many of the "blood-sucking Arab"
passengers as possible. "We are doing what (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon
promised but has failed to do: drive these sons of Arab whores from the land of
Israel," said Shapiro, 42, who moved here with his wife and four children three years
ago from Brooklyn. "If he won't get rid of the Muslim filth, then we will."

There is no one with the name Avi Shapiro who lives in Hebron, Kiryat Arba, Gush
Etzion or Efrat. I spent much of the day searching for this person, who, to the best of
my knowledge, does not really exist. Avi Shapiro seems to be a figment of Kelley’s
imagination. Or perhaps he does exist, but does not live anywhere in this area.

3. There were periods of time, particularly during the winter, when people from
Hebron, Kiryat Arba and other communities, participated in road blocks, especially in
the early morning and late evening. It must be remembered that scores of Jews were
being murdered by Arab terrorists in ‘drive-by shootings,’ whereby terrorists opened
fire on moving vehicles on the road. There was an attempt made to hinder Arab
traffic, so as to save Jewish lives. However, at no time were any ‘order’ every given
to “open fire and kill…” Were this to be true, many many Arabs would have been

killed by civilians. (This point will be discussed more specifically below). The goal of
roadblocks was solely to hinder Arab traffic, and not to come into any violent contact
with Arab drivers.

4. “…vigilante Jewish settlers are shooting…Palestinians”

There have been several attacks on Palestinian civilians. As of yet, Israeli authorities
have not arrested any Jews for have perpetrated the attacks. The Yesha council has
condemned the attacks and called on the Israeli security forces to apprehend the

In one particular case, a group of Arabs were shot at, and some killed, near Idna,
in the Southern Hebron hills. It was widely assumed that the attackers were
Jews. However, it has since been learned that the family had strong ties to Israeli
intelligence, and that one the family’s brothers was murdered by Arabs in Hebron
because of his connections to Israeli intelligence forces.

It was also learned that following the attack, no bullet casings were discovered at the
scene of the crime. However, several hours later Arabs came forth with ‘evidence’
in the form of bullet casings they claimed were from the shooting attack. In other
words, a large question mark looms over this entire episode. No one has yet been
apprehended or charged with the crime.

5. “…Baruch Goldstein, gunned down 29 Arabs in a nearby mosque…”

It is interesting to note that Kelley mentions Baruch Goldstein 3 times in his article,
but neglects to mention such terrorist murderers as Yechi Iash, who was responsible
for the deaths of over 50 Jews, and trained his successors to carry on in his footsteps.

6. “Nearly 450 right-wing Jews, all of whom are armed and claim a biblical right
to the land, live here among 120,000 Palestinians. Many, like Shapiro and his
colleagues, are ready to strike at any time.”

Today there are 700 Jews living in Hebron. Hebron’s Jewish community has been
under fire for the past year. Day after day, night after night, we have been shot at in
the street, in our homes and in our cars, at all hours of the day and night. Civilians
have been wounded, and a 10 month old baby shot and killed by terrorists from the
nearby hills which surround the community. Our security is in the hands of the Israeli
army. True, many of us are armed for reasons of self-defense. We have not, during
the past year, used our weapons for offensive, or rarely ever for defensive purposes.

7. “…says Yossi Sarid, a left-wing Israeli opposition leader. "This is a city that is

Yossi Sarid has no appreciation for Jewish heritage or tradition. He is virulently left-
wing, and has always been anti-Hebron. Hebron, the first capital of Israel, home of
our Patriarchs, home of King David, represents the roots of the Jewish people. Why
doesn’t Kelley quote Israeli leaders, such as former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who
in a letter to the community dated 9.8.00 said, “The Jewish community in Hebron will
continue to exist for another 2,000 years." Or the President of Israel, Moshe Katzav,

who on 9.8.00 said on Israeli radio, “Can you imagine that Jews would not be living
in the city of Hebron?”

8. “Since the start of the latest surge of violence in Israel a year ago this month, at
least 119 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli civilians in the West Bank and Gaza,
according to B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group …”

According to the B’Tselem website “Eleven Palestinian civilians were killed by
Israeli civilians, including One Two month- old baby girl.” (

9. “During the same time, at least 30 settlers have been killed by Palestinian gunmen.”

According to the B’Tselem web site: “In the territories” 60 Israeli civilians were
killed by Palestinians, Five of them were minors under the age of 17: One boy age 16,
two boys age 14, a 10 month-old baby girl and a 5 month-old baby boy. One was a
minor aged 17. At least Six of them were allegedly killed by persons affiliated with
the pna.
”Within Israel” “residents of the Occupied Territories. 21 of them were minors under
the age of 17. Of them: Six were age 16, Five were age 15, Four were age 14, One
was age 13, One was age 10, One was age 8, One was age 4 and One was age 2. One
was age 17.
According to the Israel Defense Forces Spokesman , in the past year, 120 civilians
have been killed , and 1,153 have been wounded. (

10. “In July, Jewish vigilantes killed three Palestinians, including a 3-month-old boy,
in Nablus.

This is a lie.

11.”Yet, the attacks are expected to increase, Israeli officials say. A group of Jewish
vigilantes who possess bomb-making materials has formed in Hebron, they say.”

Who is the “they” quoted. Why are all the sources quoted anonymous?

12. “Last week, 85 European Community monitors who had patrolled Hebron since
1994 withdrew after complaining of weeks of verbal and physical abuse by the

Israel security forces, as reported on Israeli radio, have proof that the TIPH forces in
Hebron have been spying on civilian and military positions in the city, and passing
this information on to Arafat’s armed forces. For more about TIPH see: http://

13. “On a recent Sunday, Shapiro and the 12 other extremists spotted their first target:
a white Palestinian taxi that had turned the corner and begun to rumble toward them.
From a hill 50 yards away, the men could be seen removing the safety locks from the
weapons. Their wives were grabbing extra ammunition clips. Their children, all of
them under age 12, were picking up rocks.”

As stated above, Avi Shapira does not exist. Nor did this event ever occur. Where
is Kelley’s proof? Where are the pictures? Why wasn’t anyone arrested? A report
of “wives grabbing extra ammunition clips” is total nonsense, a total fabrication.

14. "People here are extremely upset," says David Wilder, a spokesman for Jewish
settlers here. "We're upset by the daily shooting, killings and harassment by
Palestinians. People feel abandoned (by Israel's government) and so some people are
going to take up guns."

I never said that people “are going to take up guns.” I have said that people will
defend themselves if their lives are endangered.

15. “Ahmad Abu Neni, 55, is blind and a Palestinian. His small kiosk of cleaning
supplies has been ransacked three times since last September by settlers, human rights
officials say. He's also been beaten in the back with a brick and punched repeatedly,
they add. Neni says Israeli soldiers tried to break up one of the attacks by firing a
concussion grenade at the attackers, only to set his clothes on fire. He suffered third-
degree burns.”

In his audio report, Kelley accuses ‘settler teenagers, many of whom are from
Brooklyn” of beating this man and then setting him on fire. In this written report,
Kelley says otherwise. Why does Kelley contradict himself in the two reports? How
does he know that the supposed ‘attackers’ are from Brooklyn?

16. “Nearby, Nafez Bani Jaber, 45, was burying 123 of his sheep. He says they were
poisoned last week after 10 Jewish extremists chased him off his fields. Israeli police
say they have found needles dipped in poison that they believe the settlers used on the
sheep. Police say poison also was dumped down a nearby well used by Palestinians.”

There was a report of sheep poisoned, but not in Hebron, rather in the Shomron, in
northern Israel. It has not been proven that any Jews had responsibility for the act.

17. “…Tivon says his soldiers and police officers often are ambushed by the settlers,
whom he calls "hooligans." The settlers accuse the police of failing to stop the Arab

Former Brigade commander Noam Tivon did not say that his soldiers are ambushed
by settlers. He had words of praise for Hebron’s Jewish Community. He did say that
there are a few “hooligans” here, but that they are the exception to the rule.

18. "I can't believe we are risking our lives to defend these fanatics," says Sgt. Avi
Alamm, 28 as he watches a settler boy, dressed as the late Goldstein, walk by with
an Israeli flag. Goldstein, who gunned down the 29 Muslims, is revered among
some settlers as a prophet. They encourage their children to dress like him on
occasion. "The people make me ashamed to be a Jew," Alamm says.”

Children in Hebron do not walk around dressed up as Baruch Goldstein. Five years
ago a child, not from Hebron, dressed up on the Purim holiday, as a doctor. Hebron
residents requested that he remove the costume, so as not to be mistaken as having

dressed up as Goldstein. The child complied with the request.

As for the purported remarks of the Sgt. Alamm, there are soldiers in Hebron who,
being of a left-wing political persuasion, are willing to defame us to the media.
However, for every soldier who portrays us negatively, there are scores of others who
have only warm words of praise and appreciation for Hebron’s Jewish community and
Hebron’s Jewish residents. However, obviously, these kinds of statements have no
place in Kelley’s article.

19. “Now, many Israelis are calling on the government to dismantle extremist
settlements such as the one here. "The Jewish settlement in Hebron is a major
nuisance, and the lawless behavior by Jews there in recent days leads to one
conclusion," the Israeli newspaper "Ha'aretz" recently editorialized. "Hebron must be

Ha’aretz newspaper is the most left-wing newspaper in Israel. Their views are well
known. They are, however, not representative of Israel’s public. “Many Israelis”
are, in truth, a handful of people whose views are not new. They have been calling
for uprooting of communities in Judea, Samaria and Gazza, including Hebron, for
decades. Israeli public opinion is opposed to the dismantling of Yesha, as can be
proven by Ariel Sharon’s overwhelming landslide victory a few months ago.

In conclusion, Jack Kelley’s article is an intentional attempt to besmirch the
good name of the Jewish Community of Hebron, using fabrication, distortion and
inaccuracy. It is unfortunate that a publication such as USA Today should see fit
to publish such trash. We expect that Kelley’s tenure with the newspaper will be
terminated immediately and that USA TODAY will not only publish this rebuttal, but
will also print an apology for slandering our community.

David Wilder
The Jewish Community of Hebron

Monday, September 3, 2001


Sept 3, 2001

This afternoon, as I was preparing tonight’s talk, my pager started beeping. The message read, “a soldier shot near Gross Square, being treated at the site.”

Grabbing my camera and running outside, I found a young warrior lying in the street, his leg opened up by an Arafat-initiated assault. His patrol was attacked when a bomb exploded next to them. Then Arafat’s terrorist soldiers started shooting at them. Two soldiers were wounded, one in the arm and the other in the leg. Thank G-d, miraculously the injuries are not life-threatening and both wll recover.

The shooting continues, day after day, night after night. Yet, as far as Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres, and Fuad ben Eliezer are concerned, the ‘red line’ doesn’t reach Hebron. It stretches only as far south as Gilo, in Jerusalem. The Prime Minister, speaking to children in Gilo schools yesterday, the first day of the new school year, promised the children, ‘no more shooting on Gilo.’ “I will not allow any more shooting at Gilo.” But the Prime Minister has not yet said to Hebron’s children, “no more shooting in Hebron. I won’t let them keep shooting at you.”

Ariel Sharon ignores our existence. He refuses to allow the Israeli army to take the measures necessary to stop the attacks. It took an entire year of war for Sharon to allow IDF explosives experts to destroy two houses at the top of the Abu Sneneh hills, houses that had been empty for at least 6 months.

One might not have expected Sharon’s predecessor to fight back, but Ariel Sharon was elected, in his words, ‘to provide security for Israelis.’
So Arik, I ask you, why don’t we deserve the same consideration as Jews living in Jerusalem? Why doesn’t the red line include all Israelis, whether in Homesh, Psagot, Hebron or Kfar Darom?

My original talk tonight was going to focus on what happened in Durban, South Africa.

Yesterday the Human Rights Forum branded Israel a "racist apartheid state" guilty of "war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing" and called for the establishment of a U.N. committee to prosecute Israeli war crimes and the complete isolation of Israel as an apartheid state

This kind of declaration might surprise some. After all, Israel has been bending over backwards for years, trying to convince the world that we really  ‘aren’t like that.’ We’ve sacrificed almost 500 Jews since Rabin signed the original Oslo accords in 1993. In the last year alone almost 200 Israelis have been murdered by Arafat’s armed forces, ‘in the name of peace.’ So why should the world hate us, when we are willing to sacrifice so much, for so little in return?

One of the most common answers suggested in trying to solve this dilemma deals with public relations. Very frequently I hear tourists bitterly complaining about Israel’s poor public relations.    And it’s difficult to understand why. We have the money and we have the brains. So, what’s missing?

The answer is, I think, sadly enough, simple desire. We don’t want to explain ourselves. We have a problem legitimizing our rights to the Land of Israel, and to a great degree we question our very being.  Perhaps that isn’t expressed right. We may not really question our right to exist, but we don’t know why we exist.  We don’t understand who we are, we don’t understand what we are, and we don’t understand where we are. When we don’t comprehend ourselves, it’s virtually impossible to explain ourselves to others. And in the end, we let them walk all over us.

When Shimon Peres received the Nobel Peace Prize, together with Arafat and Rabin, he was quoted as having told the King of Sweden that Israel looks to Sweden as an example of ‘what we should be.’ We, the Jewish people, 4,000 years old, offspring of Abraham, Moses, David, we look to Sweden as a model for ourselves?

Israeli lifestyle attempts to mimic European and American traditions, again, viewing their standard of living as a prototype for ourselves. Many Israeli values zero in on those of our international neighbors, resulting in an almost total disregard for our own, original principals.

All this, without realizing that the very values we are trying to copy are intrinsically contrary to the ideals upon which we, as a people, exist. Of course the nations of the world do not want us in the land of Israel – they actively participated in keeping ous out of Israel for 2,000 years! Not too long ago they did just everything possible to keep us from coming back.  Of course they refuse to recognize our religious purity – who burned us at the stake, and who baked us in the ovens of Aushweitz? And for what reasons?

In other words, the standards we are setting for ourselves today, in 2001, are diametrically opposed to the roots of our being, the foundations of our existence. It is, therefore, impossible to rationally explain ourselves to those who are still trying to bring about our disappearance as a people, i.e., there are too many Israelis who fully believe that Israel is a "racist apartheid state" guilty of "war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing"  After all, how else can you explain our “behavior towards the poor palestinians?”

Israel’s identity crisis is in full swing. It  vacuumed us into the Oslo catastrophe and will, more than likely, envelope us in an inevitable all out war.  True, Israel was reborn 52 years ago, but measured in minutes and hours of eternity, we are still in the teenage stage, trying to figure out what we want out of life. And as any parent knows, it’s not an easy stage to go through. In our case, it is downright dangerous. The effects of a 2000 year old dispersion amongst the peoples of the world have not yet rubbed off, and we are continuing to eat the fruit of that poisonous assimilation.

However, slowly, perhaps too slowly, yet slowly, people are starting to wake up, starting to ask themselves questions, deep down inside, even if they still don’t want to openly admit it. And eventually, those questions will lead to answers which will leave no doubt as to our legitimacy, our legitimacy in Eretz Yisrael, and our legitimacy as the Jewish people.  The solution to our problems is almost upon us. For even if we don’t wish to face the questions head on, our neighbors will not allow us evade them.

After that, we won’t have any problems with PR.  And Hebron’s residents will no longer be pawns in Shimon’s match with Yassir.

With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder